By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—Never mind that the New York Rangers are missing several players from their starting lineup and that they are among the worst teams in the NHL (3-6), the Flyers were desperate for a win over anybody.
This is definitely true for a Flyers (2-7-0) squad that has had trouble scoring more than one goal in most of their games this year. They have yet to score more than two in their first nine games of the season.
Suffice it to say, the Flyers 2-1 win over the Rangers Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center was progress or at least a step in the right direction.
Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn scored what turned out the winning goal with 16:27 left in the third period when he took a pass from Matt Read at the point and shot it past New York goalie Cam Talbot. Head coach Craig Berube said he was glad to see his team score enough goals to get their second victory of the season-his first as the Flyers coach.
“Getting a win is the most important thing obviously,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “Wins are wins in this league. You play games where you play really well and you don’t win. You’ll play games where you play average or not so good and you win. It’s good for the confidence. That’s what we play for is to win hockey games.”
The goal scorers for the Flyers were not the guys from the team’s top scoring lines. But when you’ve been in a sweltering desert of not putting the puck in the net, you’re happy to get a goal from just about anybody.
The Flyers will definitely take Read’s short-handed, breakaway goal midway through the first period. He separated the puck from Rangers center Derick Brassard near center ice and streaked in front of Talbot and shot the puck through the five-hole (between his legs) for the goal.
“You always know the length of the pads these days, that five hole’s always open, so you just sit tight and shoot it in the five-hole,” said Read, who also had an assist on Coburn’s game-winning goal.
Meanwhile, Steve Mason had another brilliant in goal for the Flyers with 30 saves. For him, it was an effort that didn’t go to waste because the offense didn’t score enough goals. The Rangers only score of the game came on a goal by center Brad Richards late in the first period.
“You just have to ready for anything,” Mason said. “You know the next save could be the turning point in the game. I think (Cam) Talbot made a huge save coming across on Brayden (Coburn) and that could have swung the momentum in their direction. But it was my job just to make the saves.”
It also helps to have a few breaks go your way as well. Midway through the third period, an apparent game-tying goal by Rangers center J.T. Miller was overturned by the replay officials, who ruled that the puck was kicked into the net.
“It was a kicking motion, I knew it right away,” Mason said.
But there are still some areas of concern for the Flyers. They were 0-for-4 in the power play including a five-minute power play that came when Rangers left winger Benoit Pouliot hit center Max Talbot and pushed him into the boards. Pouliot was given a game misconduct and ejected.
“For some reason, it’s not going in right now, but you have slumps like that during an 82-game season,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “The last three years our power play has been the top of the league. We just have to keep working on it and it will come.”
Meanwhile, Talbot, with a band-aid on his nose, was back on the ice in the third period. He said he was checked by doctors and was eventually allowed to get back in the game.
“Not disoriented. It’s a weird feeling obviously,” Talbot said. “I don’t wish that on anybody. No symptoms (concussion), no headaches or anything.”